Monday, December 30, 2013

What I Learned In December

Wow! I absolutely loved this month. Maybe it was because I felt like I was finally getting into the swing of things this year OR maybe it was because I was just happy to not be as busy as I usually am. For the last several years, I've volunteered for the Angel Tree program at The Salvation Army in Orlando but this year, a lot has changed (primarily leadership) and with changes, comes a lot of new and not always the "old" help.

So moving forward, I learned a lot this month including how to break that down in a list of five...

1 - Just because it has always been doesn't mean it always has to be. 

What are you doing that you've always done that just isn't quite working for you and your family any longer. Are you happy when you think about it or does it bring up negative feelings? If it's the latter, then you may want to reconsider.

2. Breathing is good for everything

Thanks to a great new yoga studio that has opened near my house, I've been reminded of the value and the power of my breath which takes me back to where I need to be and fills my soul. So simple. So easy. But still, we forget.

3. Love. 

When you are in the midst of confrontation, enlightenment or what comes between all of that...Sometimes, love is literally all you need to respond to your family or to your friends.

4. Family doesn't always look like you think it should.

My brother and I have been attending church together and the week before Christmas we were reminded about the family of Jesus. The way they may have "looked" to people. Often we forget that family is not always what you think it should be and not who you would expect. Sometimes it's a friend that has come to your rescue time and time again or your little brother who has taught you more about persistence and learning the hard way than anyone else or a few wise men bringing gifts. Family is bigger than you can imagine.

5. My golf game reminded me that no matter how well you played previously, it means nothing in the next round.

Every day is a new day and every choice is a new possibility. When you think you know or have figured it out, life sends up yet another way to remember that it's a journey not a destination.

Here's to you, your family (the one that you didn't choose and the one you did), your health and your well-being. May you head into 2014 with an open heart and full breaths to take in all of the beauty that the light in your heart brings every day. 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Happy 7th Blogiversary to me!

Any excuse to post a pic of a delicious looking cake and to celebrate! Happy Blogiversary to Dragonfly Lorelie where my spirit has continued to grow through the good, the bad and everything else. So thankful for this space and for those of you who visit me here. Here's to another year of blogging, sharing and connecting with what matters most in life.

Friday, October 04, 2013

31 Days of Super Heroes :: Jenny

31 Days of Super Heroes - Day #4: My Jenny
Where do I even begin with this one? My Jenny and I met "by chance" during my first year of college. We were placed as roommates in a non-A/C top floor tiny room with more furniture than my living room has in it.We could not of been more opposite in our upbringing and the way we looked at life, specifically higher education. But once I had the chance to really see Jenny the way that others rarely see her, I knew we'd be lifelong friends.

My Jenny is fearless, ready for anything and super hero smart in the way she has taken her career around the world and back successfully on all fronts. She understands the importance of fun, adventure, spontaneity and living the kind of life most of us dream of post-retirement or when we win the lottery. She is far from 65 and truly created her own winning ticket that is just right for her. She hasn't looked back except to visit those she holds near and dear and I just happen to be privileged to be one of them.

My Jenny - You are a super hero! Thank you for your letting our friendship grow into something so unexpected. You inspire me and impact my day-to-day positively even from the other side of the world. Thank you for using your talents to explore, teach and share the possibility that adventure is only a trip to a job fair away. 

Thursday, October 03, 2013

31 Days of Super Heroes :: The Theo's

31 Days of Super Heroes - Day #3: The Theo's
Both my brother and his mini me are two of my favorite people in all the world. The way they pursue their passions and learn life daily on the basketball court and at school and work. They are two of the sweetest and funniest guys I know. Last Thanksgiving, they made the trek along with the baby girl and Mr. Wonderful to North Carolina for some Thanksgiving fun. It didn't snow (neither have ever seen snow) but it did end up being a beautiful time of weather, spending time with friends and safe travels. None of which I take for granted for a second.

Theo's - You are super heroes! Thank you for your sense of humors, love for laughter and for making long drives and family get together's so much fun. 

Maybe one day you'll know how much you both mean to me and how much I love watching you grow into men who have the ability to change the world. 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

31 Days of Super Heroes :: Joy

31 Days of Super Heroes - Day #2: Joy
My year started with a visit from my best friend Joy and her family. It was not the smoothest trip to Florida for the four of them but they were able to move forward and get back home.

Joy is pure light to me. She and her family taught me so much about love, about patience and about the importance of family dinner time. Sitting around a table with Joy and fam showed me that no matter the day or what is going on...taking time to be together while breaking bread is a good way to wash away and reset focus on what's really important.
Joy is in her final year of her graduate degree. I am proud of her beyond the years we've been friends. Our quality time has become phone calls during our drives to work and school. Even if they're only a few minutes, they end up being some of the most meaningful and always helpful conversations.

Joy - You are a super hero! Thank you for embracing your passion to bring joy to others and for being an amazing best friend. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

31 Days of Super Heroes :: Catherine

31 Days of Super Heroes - Day #1: Catherine
Recently, I took my very neglected hair to visit one of my favorite places - Salon Ciseasux. Had a couple of inches trimmed off my hair and a little color too. This Super Hero above disguised as a Salon Owner, Master Stylist and Color Specialist has been doing my hair now for 13 years or so and hair in general for nearly 30 years.

We joke about the "BC" (Before Cathy) styles on me, specifically the bangs/fringe that was a part of my signature style in the 90's, early 2000's. Because I'm awesome and not always super smart, I would cut them on my own.

Cathy has made it happen for my hair and for me so many times and many special occasions like holiday parties, photo sessions, the day of my wedding, pregnancy, etc. She is one of the hardest working women I know and she is all about keeping up on trends and being ready to help people look beautiful with a new haircut or color. And that's just her day job. In real life, she's a mom of two, wife of Theo, fitness junkie, loves chocolate, enjoys raw food and a total fashionista.

Catherine - You are a super hero! Thank you for using your powers for good and beauty. 

This kicks off my first every 31 Days journey. I hope 31 Days of Super Heroes will inspire you to express your gratitude to the heroes in your world who bring light and love to your every day.

Monday, September 30, 2013

What I Learned in September :: Seven Things

I'm taking a page out of the playbook of one of the bloggers I follow. Every month, she posts what the 30 days taught her. Love this idea. At home, I do this every week withe the baby girl about her school work. We write down her favorite things from the last five days of learning. Each day, I reflect in one sentence about the prior day. (Hmmm...Reflecting may be a passion of mine.)

So here goes...September 2013 brought lots of learning opportunities as does most months and that is why I double love life and all of its imperfections. Here's what I learned...

1 - No matter how far in advance you plan, life still happens. 

Many, many months ago, I purchased two tickets to paradise AKA two passports to the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in St. Augustine, Florida. First of all, it was an amazing experience. The advance planning several days before though started to morph into something completely different. At a certain point, I thought I may be going to the two day music binge by myself. That didn't happen but there was a point where I questioned how I got into the situation. The tickets were purchased, discussed and all was set until three days out. And as many would say, it all happens for a reason because the result was absolutely perfect. I enjoyed the concert both on Friday night and Saturday night. Saw more than I expected. Everyone was so friendly and fun to be around. St. Augustine did an outstanding job with planning and crowd control. I learned how plans are good but the experience is more important.

2 - Soccer Championship games can end with a score of a baseball game and ignite important conversations about what's next.

The gods were looking down on me and granted me access to the Championship game of the Orlando City Soccer team. They won 7-4...Yup...SEVEN goals to FOUR. I cheered them on all season and through the playoffs so to see them win it all and #gettheirtrophyback was awesome. Orlando's in the middle of a major conversation around MLS and it looks like it's going to happen. I love me some soccer so the closer to home it is and the more the world's most popular sport gets some love and new fans, the happier I am. So GO CITY!

3 - Take a day off. Even if it's just a day. 

So this year started off a little rocky when it came to taking some time off...We had a hard time finding mutual weekends in the beginning of the year. Plus, we were so darn busy we couldn't catch a break...literally. The first long weekend I had scheduled ended up getting rained out. I'm not talking a few afternoon showers. I'm talking they type of rain that put a golf course under water. The second time, the baby girl had a fever that wouldn't quit so we took one of three scheduled vacation days to see if it would get better. Each day seemed to get worse SO instead we stayed close to home (and adopted two beautiful rescue dogs - more on that in a separate post). FINALLY, we ended up taking a full glorious week of vacation in late July. Since then, I've tried to schedule a day where I can just breathe and catch up with my own thoughts much less everyone else's. I know it's important, so I'm doing it.

4 - Embrace change but it is okay to feel and process it in your own way. 

I love change. It keeps me going and helps further clarify and evaluate where I'm heading. September had a lot of change and it will go into the rest of the year. It's all positive but it doesn't come without some growing pains and that's completely fine. So, I'm just feeling what I need to feel and moving forward with a little reflection along the way.

5 - Bridal Showers and Birthday Parties have jumped a whole new level since Pinterest.

After helping my beautiful cousin a few months ago before a shower she was co-hosting and attending one in September for a soon-to-be Mrs. on my soccer team, I had no idea how fancy and clever the whole shower thing had gotten and I blame one site and one site only...PINTEREST. Never again will a party city ready-made kit be acceptable. Oh no. You need to iron on stencils, cut them out or glue gun everything, creatively display everything in a way that looks staged but not like the you're trying to hard, design the food just perfectly and the favors are detailed. The more, the better. And colorful paperstraws are so, so in. Whether it's Pinterest inspired or just a cake with some leftover decorations, I love to celebrate my friends and family as much as possible.

6 - Just take more naps. 

If time off isn't an option in the near future, take a nap on the weekend. It's not a waste of time, it's a full proof way to slow down everything and just dream.

7 -  Coffee is universal. 

In the morning, I enjoy all of the Twitter posts and Facebook mentions about coffee. The love for it. How many cups someone has had. What people are like without it. It's like I know exactly what they're experiencing since I'm typically thinking the same thing depending on where I am with my coffee fix. Something so simple becomes the common thread for several of us. Love it when that happens. Now, where's my coffee people???!!!??

Thank you September for keeping it fun and interesting. Here's to October and the rest of 2013!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Love this! Thanks for sharing it, Gretchen Rubin - Author of the Happiness Project.

"After all, a vacation is not a matter of place or time. We can take a wonderful vacation in spirit, even though we are obliged to stay at home, if we will only drop our burdens from our minds for a while. But no amount of travel will give us rest and recreation if we carry our work and worries with us."

- Laura Ingalls Wilder, essay September 1919

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Keep a "Light Heart" about Your Work

For several months, I've been following Emily Freeman through her brave and inspiring blog - Chatting at the Sky. It''s also a very pretty online space to visit. Emily is an author and recovering good girl. In fact, her first book, "Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life" is how I first came across her work. Immediately it stuck and since then, I've been reading her daily posts.

For example, today is focused on taking your work too seriously. I do that. We all do, especially when we are all trying to be the best at what we do, and deliver great results over and over again. I am my worst critic. There are times more often than not, that I don't give myself enough credit and I certainly don't give myself a break. There's just too much to do.

But the point of the post is not about being overwhelmed, it's really about being OK with where you are right now with your talent, knowledge, abilities.

Emily writes, "You can't control the outcomes of your work. But if you read too many reviews (or ask for too many opinions) you might start to try.This is bad for everyone involved. Meaningful work flows out of an artist working from acceptance, not a technician working for acceptance.

You can only do the best with what you’ve been given and what you know at the time. Accept your truest identity from the hand of God. And then be honest, remain open, and keep a light heart along the way."

She goes on to ask, "What are some ways you keep a light heart about your work?"

To answer that question:

1 -  Acknowledge truth and the joy of creative expression. (It fuels me but doesn't consume or define me.)

2 - Try not to let the numbers or nitty gritty drive everything. (It's a part of it, but it doesn't overrule my passion or what's inspiring me.) 

3. Know that it's going to be okay regardless. 

4. As a former colleague* would say when things got tough, "It's not rocket science or brain surgery." (It really isn't so accept the imperfections and move on.)
*My former colleague was married to a Rocket Scientist. 

5. Stay fun. Period. 

6. Be grateful that you are you. 

7. It only takes one person to understand what you have to say to make it all worthwhile. Sometimes that one person is you. 

8. Don't compare. It creates heaviness and defeat. 

9. Pull it together and remember what's most important. 

10. Love your work. 

Saturday, March 02, 2013

March: The Month of the Yard Transformation

My Mr. Wonderful and baby girl working on repairing the corner sprinkler
head that has either been ran over or was busted by age. Either way,
we worked together to make sure the yard was well taken care of. 
Every so often in life (pretty much every week for us lately) you are presented with a challenge and it's up to you (and your family and maybe one or two good friends) to rise to the occasion and work hard to make it all happen.

CHALLENGE: Install a new yard within a limited amount of time and make sure all of the sprinklers (the majority of them were broken) are working properly. Oh, and figure out how to even turn on the sprinkler system without watering a sidewalk or a brick wall. 

Since Mr. Wonderul is all about research, first thing was to gather information and pull together a plan of attack based on some bids from different landscaping companies. Did I mention this would all happen with a very limited budget?

So three bids later, we've identified a company that fits what we're looking for and is about double what we want to pay. Nothing unusual for most of us but it's at this point (again, because there's limited time and money) that you begin thinking, have I done enough to make the right decision? Thankfully a lack of money and time will also spring motivation. In this case, we were ready to get this completed and set so we could go back to our regular house projects which up until this point, was very low on the list but I digress...

Without all of the back and forth on price and how much would it be to use these plants here instead of there and let's not do that anymore since we'll try to use existing plants throughout the yard but relocate them so they make more sense in certain spaces.

These are the conversations I never dreamed I'd be having but I am. More to come on the yard transformation...My only little series about our small green space in the world.

Happy yard fixing to anyone who may be doing the same thing out there!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy 2013!

ALL you really need to have a HAPPY New Year Celebration.
Yes, that's right. Happy, HAPPY 2013! Good riddance 2012. In Lorelie fashion, I began my New Year surrounded by people I love and with sparklers and using the wedding flutes that the Zabinski's gave Mr. Wonderful and I.

The BeFrie and Mr. BeFrie were in town along with Mr. Wonderful's sister so at the stroke of midnight, we shouted it from the rooftops and wished each other a year of wonderful and a fresh start since 2012 pretty much kicked my butt in so many ways that I couldn't even muster enough words to write about it.

Outback Bowl with Mr. Wonderful, Tori
and our little football fan
Thankfully, I enter into this year with arms wide open and love surrounding me. Even though I didn't care for the last 365 days I still found myself looking back at some of what the family and I were able to accomplish despite the obstacles that surfaced along the way.

Lessons learned...
Hold hands. Celebrate more. Whine less. Be better than that, because you are. Live simply. Be present. Keep your shoulders down. Relax. What comes around goes around. If you're not sure, work harder. Consolidate when you can. Call your mom and brother more. Make popcorn. Listen to music. Play a contact sport. Thursday is the best day of the week. Cheer on great talent and great moments. Be kind. Don't worry. Walk more. Remember right now because it's gone way too fast. No matter what, just love.